Kathy Gibson is at Fujitsu Forum 2018 in Munich – Partnering is key to Fujitsu’s go-to-market strategy going forward.

The Fujitsu Select programme sees more than 30 000 partners working with Fujitsu around the world, co-creating solutions for customers.

The company’s growth strategy is premised on edge computing in the form of Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and hybrid cloud solutions, underpinned by security.

Partners have evolved from being straight resellers to value-added resellers (VARs) and, more recently, to specialists. The Fujitsu channel programmes have evolved match these needs.

Fujitsu rewards its partners for innovation, and this year one of the finalists is Sizwe for its digital classroom that can be delivered to rural schools in areas where there is no infrastructure.

As the market evolves, partners have had to evolve to keep pace. “Customers have digital transformation as part of their strategies, and this is changing the channel paradigm,” says Fernanda Catarino, head of business development for channel: EMEIA at Fujitsu.

“So partners need to evolve, become specialised and add value through services.”

Coupled with this is a massive skills shortage in the areas where partners need to become specialized, Fujitsu is helping by offering enablement for specialized skills.

“We are evolving the channel programme to support parts on the digital transformation journey. And partners are having to become trusted advisers to their customers.”

Key to what Fujitsu has been trying to do is to make it simpler to do business, along with new technology offerings and new working approaches.

“Its not just a one size fits all,” says Catarino.

Partner extends beyond traditional resellers to embrace service providers as well, explains Rudiger Frickenschmidt, head of EMEA service provider business at Fujitsu.

“Partners are starting to build new alliances,” he points out. “As a service might mean partners want to open a data centre, but it might be too late for that. They should rather look to partner or co-locate.”

This means the market is much more evolved than ever, Frickenschmidt adds, with a number of specialised service providers now operating.

“We have been bringing our service providers partners together with Select providers to see where there are synergies. This new way of doing business is very positive for us, and creates blueprints that partners can replicate.”

Customers are tired of technology mumbo-jumbo and want to know what they can do, Frickenshmidt points out.

“Risk is a big concern for the future,” he says. “Public cloud is variously seen as a threat or a partnering opportunity for partners.

“I think the public cloud will go in two directions. The commercial model will be strong, but micro-alliances is the new trend. The ‘frenemy’ model is going to be the way to thrive.”